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Health chiefs today expressed “serious concerns” that the Paddington Cube development would impede ambulances at a hospital which treated victims of the Grenfell Tower inferno and recent London terror attacks
They fear a new road layout proposed as part of the £775 million “floating” office block will affect emergency access to the A&E and major trauma centre at St Mary’s.
The hospital and London Ambulance Service became so frustrated at the refusal to heed their concerns they withdrew from negotiations with developers and planners.
The Cube received planning permission from Westminster council last December, subject to the road layout and other practical issues being agreed, and final legal approval is expected next week — allowing construction of the 14-storey block to begin.
Ambulances arrive at the emergency department via London Street, which runs along the eastern side of Paddington Station, and South Wharf Road.
Great Western Developments and the Cube builders, Sellar Property Group, want to pedestrianise London Street and propose a new access road to St Mary’s. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs St Mary’s, has spent months raising concerns that the route has two 90-degree “blind” corners and would mean delivery vehicles for the Cube and hospital would reverse into the path of “blue light” ambulances. St Mary’s is one of the capital’s four major trauma centres. It received about 30 patients from the Grenfell fire and attacks on Westminster and London Bridges. It receives an average of 12 “blue light” ambulances an hour.
In a letter to Westminster council chief executive Charlie Parker, Imperial chief executive Dr Tracey Batten and LAS chief executive Garrett Emmerson, TfL’s former roads chief, said the trust and LAS had serious concerns “due to the impact the revised access arrangements will have on the safe operation of the hospital and on patient safety”.
Sources close to the Cube developers said independent studies “confirmed our view that there is nothing wrong with the access road we are suggesting”. Westminster council said it had worked closely with St Mary’s, adding that it believed the proposed ambulance access route was a “significant improvement” to the existing one.
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